General Motors Shutters its Peer-to-Peer Car-Sharing Unit Maven

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【Summary】General Motors has shuttered its car-sharing platform Maven, which allowed GM owners to share their vehicle as a short-term rental, earning a little extra income in the process. The automaker said it would transfer the Maven assets and resources to its Global Innovation group, which is GM’s incubator for new mobility ideas and technology.

Eric Walz    May 29, 2020 11:00 AM PT
General Motors Shutters its Peer-to-Peer Car-Sharing Unit Maven

Before the coronavirus pandemic shut down the U.S. economy, automakers and many tech startups were actively exploring new mobility services, such as car-sharing, ride-hailing, scooter charging and electric bike sharing.

U.S. automaker General Motors also entered the space, forming its car-sharing unit Maven in 2016. The car-sharing service allowed GM owners to add their personal vehicles to the network and share their vehicle as a short-term rental, earning a little extra income in the process. 

However, the service was only available in limited markets when it officially launched in 2018 and was slow to take off. Now the recent coronavirus outbreak has resulted in GM permanently shutting down the service.

The automaker said it would transfer Maven assets and resources to its Global Innovation group, which is GM's incubator for new mobility ideas and technology.

Maven first launched in Ann Arbor, Michigan as a short-term peer-to-peer car rental company to compete with Car2Go and ZipCar. For a time, Maven had a strategic alliance with ride-hailing company Lyft, but it failed to attract new customers. 

The Maven platform offered a bit more convenience to the peer-to-peer renting process. Owners could take advantage of GM's keyless access technology so renters could unlock and start the cars using the Maven smartphone app, so there was no need to meet in-person to exchange keys.

The service allowed consumers to rent 2015 and newer GM vehicles by the hour or day and park them on city streets or at parking meters without charge when they are done. 

Maven eventually expanded to 17 cities, including Detroit, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston and San Francisco. However, the platform never really attracted much interest. Maven pulled out of Chicago, New York City, and Boston in May 2019, which GM called a "shift in strategy."

Right from its launch, Maven faced tough competition from app-based ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft, and a new crop of electric scooter sharing startups, Bird, Lime and Spin.

Julia Steyn, the first head of Maven, left GM in 2019. Steyn was at the head of Maven since it was created in 2016. She is now the chief executive officer of Bolt Mobility, an e-scooter rental startup co-founded by world-class sprinter and eight-time Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt.

GM already suspended the Maven service in March, as the coronavirus spread and people stayed away from car-sharing and ride-hailing service nationwide.

In a brief statement to Reuters on Tuesday, Pamela Fletcher, head of GM Global Innovation, said the automaker "gained extremely valuable insights" from Maven that would "benefit and accelerate the growth of other areas" of GM's business.

GM said its Maven assets would be transferred to other GM units "where there is greater potential for profit and growth."

GM wasn't the only automaker to enter the car-sharing space. German automakers Dailmer and BMW each launched their own service. The two automakers combined their services into a single entity called SHARE NOW in February 2019. 

In December 2019, The automakers announced that SHARE NOW was being shut down due to its high operating costs and the "volatile state of the global mobility landscape," the companies said in a statement. The venture officially ceased operations on Feb 29, 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic was taking hold.

With the global pandemic still going on, expect to see a changing mobility landscape, which includes a number of high-profile mobility startups suddenly dealing a loss of business. 

Even ride-hailing giant Uber, which is the biggest on-demand mobility provider in the U.S. and Maven's biggest competitor, has shifted its focus to delivering food via its Uber Eats platform to the millions of Americans stuck in their homes as demand for on-demand transportation vanishes.

resource from: Reuters

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